By Alex Distefano
By Scott Snowden
By Anna Merlan
By Steve Almond
By Jena Ardell
By Jon Campbell
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Tessa Stuart
Artists need awards to feel special. Film gets the Academy Awards, mainstream music gets the Grammys, and dance music gets the DanceStar USA Awards, which will be held at Lummus Park in Miami's South Beach on March 19, just in time for the Winter Music Conference.
Several New Yorkers have been nominated for trophies, including Moby, who nabbed four nods (Best Album, Best Video, Best Act, and Best Event for Area2); Fischerspooner (Best Act); and Liquid Todd(Best Radio DJ). Hotshots Metro Area find themselves in good company in the Best New Artist Album categoryfighting for a win against Röyksopp and the Streets.
Most of the nominees are glaringly mainstream, reflected in the Best Use of Music in a Commercial category, which pits Ming & FS against Dirty Vegas, as well as nods to WKTU jocks Louie Devito and DJ Skribble for Best DJ. Another New Yorker anointed in the same category is Danny Tenaglia, whose Be Yourself party was also tipped for Best Club Night, as was archrival Junior Vasquez's weekly, Earth.
One of the biggest surprises comes in the Best Club Venue category, which pits big-time superclubs like Miami's Club Space and Opium, Boston's Avalon, and New York's remaining decent nightspot Centro-Fly, against . . . Lunatarium? Yes, the big, little, indie "club" that could, that huge warehouse in DUMBO, shares the spotlight with the palatial playgrounds. Something's right in clubland after all.
Roger Sanchez is one person nominated for a DanceStar award who may not care if he wins. That's because the local producer-DJ has a coveted gramophone sitting on his mantel. Sancheznominated in the DanceStar Best Remix categorytook home the Grammy trophy two weeks ago for his remix of No Doubt's "Hella Good." I wondered, though, if winning a Grammy for dance music is a sort of dubious honor. Sanchez has been toiling away in house music for a good decade, with a staggering number of singles on labels like Strictly Rhythm, Ministry of Sound, and his own R-senal Records.
But the honor seems just as memorable for Sanchez as it was for Norah Jones, who took home five Grammys. On his Web site, www.releaseyourself.com, the DJ gives an inside look at what it's like to attend the awards and actually win. Sanchez arrived in New York from Europe the day before the ceremony minus his luggage, which meant he had no clothes for the big event. He writes, "We had to scramble the next morning to find something to wear, 'cause you don't want to look like crap on the biggest night of the music industry!" Thankfully, the airlines didn't lose his records, too.
S-man, as he is known, was giddy at the sight of all those celebs. "By the time we were seated, we could see people like Jill Scott, Robin Williams, Dustin Hoffman, Busta Rhymes, and many others." Even though he was nominated in 1998 (he didn't win), Sanchez still got pre-show jitters. He recounts the nervous moments before they announced the winner, "I kept telling myself . . . that I wasn't going to win . . . but hope kept creeping in." And it's hard when you're up against people you know and respectlike Felix Da Housecat, Jay-J, and Chris Lum.
After the big win, Mr. Sanchez headed down to Lotus to party with co-owner Jeffery Jah, famed Massive Attack producer Nellee Hooper, and supermodel Naomi Campbell. How sweet it must be. Says Rog: "I could never have predicted this all those years ago when I was selling mixed tapes on the street!"
Local punk-rock darlings the Yeah Yeah Yeahs finally secured a major-label album deal. The lucky label is Interscopewhich beat out hot-and-heavy competition from the likes of Elektra, Warner Bros., Capitol, Beggars Banquet, DreamWorks, and Island Def Jam. Their handler, Asif Ahmed, explained that they chose Interscope because they "put forth a more flexible and creative offer from the very beginning." And, he quipped, "the staff smell good."
The saucy trio's new full-length debut, Fever to Tell (they've already released two warmly received EPs), will hit shops by April 29. In the meantime, the boisterous rock stars are touring the U.K. and filming a video for their first single there, "Date With the Night," due out by the end of March. Hometown fans, however, have to wait a little longer to catch them. The Yeah Yeah Yeahs kick off their tour at the Bowery Ballroom on April 3 and wrap it up at Irving Plaza May 7 and 8.